Theatre for visually impaired seeks encounter in a different way
Concordia University professor and Beyond Sight director Audrey-Anne Bouchard has created a piece of art that extends theatre and dance to those who cannot see.
Bouchard is partially sighted and works in dance and theatre, and began exploring how those with visual impairments could explore theatre and dance.
"I asked myself, what can people who cannot see get from a dance show or a theatre piece?" she said. "It's three there's the audio there's the story that is told by the actors, but I was interested in how can we communicate movement from a dance piece or how can we communicate the state and all that's not seen from an actor's performance?"
She helped create Camille: Un Rendez-Vous Au-Dela Du Visuel that invites six audience members to listen, feel and be part of the theatre action.
"The audience has to engage in the piece, and we guide them," she said.
Those without visual impairments must wear blindfolds throughout the performance, and move through the piece.
"It is very intimate, but there is a progression through the piece that we start by interacting with people by touching them on the hand or guiding them with their elbows like someone would do for a blind person," said Bouchard. "Slowly, we build a relation of trust with the spectator and there is a bit more interaction as we go. We learn to know each other through this piece."
Each performer adapts to the audience member's level of engagement during the performance.
"You are free to engage as much as you want, and we will adjust to your level of comfortability," said Bouchard. "It's about encountering people in a different way."